Whether you are a physics teacher, a business tycoon or a high school student, you’ve probably heard about work. It is a measure of energy transfer and is usually expressed in joules (J). The term may be unfamiliar to you, so let’s take a look at some of the most important facts about work.
The most obvious way to calculate work is by multiplying a force and a distance together. This is also the most mathematically accurate method, as a force is a vector quantity, and a distance is measured along a path. The same principle applies to gravitational forces that act on a body. If a person stands motionless, no matter how long, energy will be lost.
Using a machine to perform the same task does not decrease the total amount of work. A dolly makes moving boxes a lot easier. In addition, a machine can be used to perform more than one task, thus reducing the amount of time it takes to move a heavy object.
Another interesting fact is that the work a human does is not necessarily the work of an animal. For instance, a weightlifter holding 150 kg for 30 minutes is doing no work on the load. In contrast, a batsman hitting a ball is doing work. The ol’ fashioned example of a baseball player’s efforts might include hitting a home run.
In general, work is a function of three factors: force, displacement, and angle. The aforementioned trifecta is the most important, as it allows us to calculate the magnitude of a given object and its associated merits.
There are many other factors that affect the work a human does. For example, if a person sits in a chair all day, his or her muscles are not likely to be in peak condition. Therefore, the ability to sit still for a prolonged period is not an accomplishment. Similarly, the ability to stand in the same position for an extended period of time is not a feat that will produce much work. Lastly, the size of a human body also has a bearing on the work a human performs. The bigger the body, the more force is required to lift, push, or carry it. This is where the aforementioned machines come into play.
It is the combination of the aforementioned forces and the aforementioned directions that is the magic number in determining the work a human does. If an individual is standing still, there is no need for any of the above, and the work a human does is reduced accordingly. The same is true for a traveller pushing a suitcase.
The most important fact to remember is that the most obvious form of work is not the best at all. In order to find the best, a person has to know a few things. Specifically, he or she has to know the amount of work involved in a particular task. This can be calculated by looking at the aforementioned factors, as well as the direction of the force and the distance it travels.